Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was born and raised in Albany, New York, the capital of New York State. Although I have relocated to different towns or counties over the years, I still remain about nine miles from my beloved childhood neighborhood. This is a great place to live since it's so close to so many cultural centers (cities) such as Saratoga Springs, Montreal, Toronto, Boston, and New York City. The four seasons are attractive to me as well as I do enjoy skiing, skating, snowshoeing and even mountain biking in the snow.
When did you develop an interest in photography?
As a little girl, I used to devour Life and Look Magazines and just devoured and studied all those black and white photos depicting real life, including Washington, D.C., Hollywood, and Vietnam. I thought there was such beauty in the stillness of the photo, the contrast in colors and the freezing of action. I guess I have always been an observer. Being an only child and a shy child, who was mostly surrounded by adults and crazy cousins, I used to do more watching than interacting. I would notice and see things that others wouldn't have paid any attention to and even to this day my husband is amazed at what photos I wind up taking and wonders where it was that I saw something as he never noticed what I noticed. Those photos in the magazines were Art to me and since I couldn't even draw a straight line, I figured I could take pictures. Even so, I was never good at it. Didn't practice enough to focus better or meter it correctly. Although I took a photography course in High School and had limited access to a dark room, for a teenager, film was expensive and spending money on getting the film developed seemed silly. I felt I could never get the photos the way I wanted them. Thank goodness for digital!!! Finally, I could practice and improve endlessly!
How long have you been with the 365 Picture Today Community?
I've been with this great community of photographers with Katrina Kennedy's group, Capture Your 365 (CY365) since 2018 and haven't stopped. I think I may have missed a day or two in all these years and gone "off prompt" just a handful of times. I tend to be a little rigid and stubborn, hard on myself, when it comes to that. This photo is the very first one I took when I started!
What is your favorite subject to photograph and why?
My favorite subject to photograph is people whether it's at a social gathering where I know everyone or in a public situation where I don't know anyone. I prefer to take the candid shot as compared to the posed set up shot. I have discovered that candid shots always come out way better, since candid shots allow for the true essence of a person to come shining through. The pose and smile seem to always be more relaxed. I am intrigued by the people I see on the street; I know there's a story and that is fascinating to me! When the streets are scanty, like during the pandemic lockdowns, I would still hit the streets but take more "contemplative" shots of everyday items, such as newspapers tossed aside, empty outdoor cafe tables and chairs and always "chasing the light" for great light and shadows to capture these everyday things. Using ambient lighting shining through my window on the ordinary and creating something worth remembering, is a favorite pastime of mine too when hunkering down at home.
What do you enjoy most about photography? What sparked your interest?
Photography has saved me from myself and the daily stressors of life. Learning to shoot manual and how to compose memories reduced my everyday anxiety and created a calm and a daily satisfaction. It actually increased my self-esteem and confidence as a person. Taking a photo a day is my daily meditation. It's like how dancing is for me; I am focused on the moment, mindful of the here and now; it relaxes me. Once I learned to use the camera as if it were an extension of my own arm, taking a photo a day, I can focus on the process of "making pictures" and nothing else at the moment. While out making pictures nothing else exists, i.e., no problems, no worries, no stress. I do enjoy the creative process of processing the photo, too, but very minimally compared to the actual shoot. I use minimal processing of my shots because I don't want to be stuck behind the computer, but rather out and about shooting. In 2017, my husband gifted me with a Big Girl Camera, my first Nikon (I have 2 Nikon bodies and one Fujix100v, which I adore!). KC would drag me to lots of music events and to get me out of my boredom I tried shooting concerts, bands and when I wasn't dancing, eventually started taking pictures of the dancers and the people at the venue. After that, I never leave home without a camera in my hand or bag.
Which technique or style do you wish you had more time to practice and what is your favorite editing software?
Since I love "shooting people" and capturing their true self, I wish I had more time and patience and clientele to delve into the lighting of portraiture with studio lights and all that lighting equipment. I have some indoor lighting, and reflectors, but I guess I just don't have the patience to try to eliminate all those shadows that the lights create. And the switching of backgrounds is annoying, hence candid is BEST! Lightroom is by far my favorite editing software. I tried Photoshop (too complicated) and to be honest I don't have a need for Photoshop. Everything I need is in Lightroom. I see myself as more of a documentary photographer and my goal is to create a photo straight out of the camera (SOOTC). I shoot in manual mode, so anything I want to create can be done in the camera rather than in the editing post camera process. To delete (spot remove) anything from a photo documenting real life or a life story is really "compromising the integrity of the photo" (a newspaper photographer gave me those fabulous words that I will never forget. (Thank you, Lucy Shultz of the Albany Times Union, since retired).